Putting Education Reform To The Test

Five Differences Between Charter and District School Students

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Florida International Academy charter school students in Opa Locka, Florida.

Charter schools are public schools, but the two public options have a stronger appeal for some students than others.

Here are five differences between district school students and charter school students according to a StateImpact Florida analysis of Florida Department of Education 2010-2011 school year data.

Charter school students are:

  • More likely to be Hispanic – Hispanics comprise a larger percentage of charter school students, marking the most significant difference between the demographics of traditional public schools and charter schools.

  • More than one in three charter school students is Hispanic, 36.5 percent, according to a StateImpact Florida analysis of state data posted online. Hispanics comprise 27.8 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Less likely to be black – The difference is smaller than the difference in charter and district school enrollment for Hispanic students.
  • Less likely to be Asian – Asian students comprise a small percentage of Florida public school students. District school reported 2.5 percent of their students are Asian
  • Less likely to be on free or reduced lunch —  Nearly six in ten district school students – 58.7 percent — qualifies for free or reduced lunch by federal standards. Less than half of charter school students – 48.7 percent – meet the same standards.
  • The median school percentage of district students qualifying for federal free or reduced lunch was 66 percent. Charters’ median school percentage of students qualifying for federal free or reduced lunch was 52.5 percent.
  • Less likely to have to learn English – District schools reported 9.3 percent of their students were not native English speakers. Charter schools reported 8.2 percent of their students needed to learn English.



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